City Paper Widget

Thursday, August 29, 2013

1315 T Street Expansion Backed by ANC1B Committee

The residents of 1315 T Street NW have received approval from the Design Review Committee of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B/U Street in connection with the proposed renovation and expansion of their row house at 1315 T Street NW. The approval was unanimous, with one abstention.

1315 T Street is the blue building, center
A representative of the residents appeared before the Design Review Committee of ANC 1B at its monthly meeting, held on August 19th at the Thurgood Marshall Center (1816 12th Street). Documents submitted to the board say the renovation will remove an existing third-floor addition and construct a new one. A roof deck will be added, and the basement enlarged.

The new addition will not be visible from the street, the representative said.

The project at 1315 T Street will require zoning relief from DC's Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) for several reasons. First, after the renovation, the whole structure will cover 70% of the property. The limit under current rule is 60% for this zoning category. Secondly, an existing open court behind the building is non-compliant with zoning regulations. The regulations say such a court should be 10 feet wide; this court is 3.7 feet wide at its narrowest point.

A public hearing on the renovation is scheduled at the BZA (441 4th Street) for Tuesday, 22 October.

It will also require a building permit from the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB), because the building is within the boundaries of the U Street Historic District. The residents and their architect are filing a request for conceptual review with the HPRB.

An ANC's recommendations legally have influence, but are not binding, before both the BZA and the HPRB.

The residents of 1315 T Street have a letter of no objection from the abutting neighbor to the east. They have letters of support from two neighbors to the rear of the property. At the hearing, the residents' representative said that the abutting neighbor to the west, a landlord with renters, had been informed, but had not responded.

The architect for the project is Will Teass of Tektonics Architecture.

The committee's recommendation will probably come up for approval at the next meeting of the full ANC, scheduled for Thursday, September 5, at 7pm, at the Reeves Center (14th and U Street)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

ANC1B Committee Approves Third Story on 2241 12th Place

The Design Review Committee of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B/U Street signed on to a proposed third floor for 2241 12th Place NW. The unanimous decision was made at the committee's regular monthly meeting, held on August 19 at the Thurgood Marshall Center (1816 12th Street).
2241 14th Place

The homeowner appeared before the committee and explained that, due to inexperience, he had approached the city bureaucracies in incorrect order. Instead of getting ANC approval for his expansion and then approaching the city's Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB), he had gone directly to the HPRB. It had given him the green light contingent on ANC approval.

According to testimony and drawings submitted to the committee in support of the application, the addition of the third floor will not be visible from the street in front of the building. 

The house modification requires HPRB approval because it falls within the boundaries of the U Street Historic District.

The facade of the addition will add six feet to the height of the building, and the highest point will be two feet above that. The facade of the third floor addition will be located more than 13 feet behind the facade of the first two floors. It will extend more than 28 feet to the rear of the property, flush with the existing back wall of the first two floors.

The recommendation of the committee will pass onto the full ANC for a vote. The next scheduled monthly meeting of the full ANC is Thursday, September 5, at the Reeves Center (14th and U Streets).

The house is located on the block between W Street and Florida Avenue.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Former Home of Washington Afro-American to be Renovated

The Design Review Committee of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B/U Street soon will consider a renovation of a property that was the long-time home of the Washington Afro-American newspaper. Developers of the property came before the Design Review Committee at its regular monthly meeting on Monday, August 19, at the Thurgood Marshall Center (1816 12th Street NW).

Detail from plaque at the property
The property is actually two adjacent lots: 1101 S Street and 1800 11th Street, on the northwest corner of 11th and S at Vermont Street. It was the location of the Washington Afro-American's offices from 1937 until the late 1970's, according to information on a plaque on the side of the building and on the website of Cultural Tourism DC.

The property today
A scheduling mix-up resulted in the hearing on the property being postponed. On ANC1B's website prior to the meeting, it was announced that the committee would hear a petition about a property at 1501 11th Street, which is not located within the boundaries of ANC1B. This address turned out to be that of offices of the CAS Riegler, a property developer who is overseeing the project. When the nature of the confusion became clear, Design Review Committee Chair Tony Norman told the petitioners that they had to come back next month. The ANC needed to advertise the hearing properly, Norman said, so neighbors could attend the meeting if they wished.

Norman is also the ANC Commissioner from district 09 and the chair of ANC1B as a whole.

The property falls within the boundaries of the U Street Historic District. External renovations to houses in historic districts nearly always require approval from DC's Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) prior to starting work. Petitioners often seek ANC endorsement before approaching the HPRB.

Documents submitted to the Design Review Committee say the project will include a full renovation of both buildings. The proposal also says that the structural integrity of 1101 S Street will be improved, and the existing facade with be removed down to the original brick facade. There will be no additions to the existing buildings.

In addition, a presenter for the developer said that a large exterior staircase, which emerges from the property into public space on the sidewalk of 11th Street, will be removed.

1101 S Street is a residential unit.

A current occupant of the other building is the Upco Lock and Safe Service. This company has been in business since 1967.

The next meeting of the Design Review Committee is scheduled for Monday, September 23, at 6:30pm at the Thurgood Marshall Center.

Monday, August 26, 2013

ANC1B to Hold Town Hall Meeting on Liquor Licensing

Advisory Neighborhood Commission ANC 1B/U Street will soon hold a town-hall style meeting to discuss standards for dealing with liquor licensees. The purpose of the meeting will be to get community input on appropriate and uniform standards. The meeting will be held on September 3, at 7pm, at the Reeves Center (14th and U Streets NW), according to information on ANC1B's web site and Twitter.

Reeves Center (AgnosticPreachersKid, en.wikipedia)
ANC1B liquor licensing affairs committee chair Jeremy Leffler (Commissioner for district 02) discussed scheduling the town hall meeting with liquor licensing affairs committee members at their regular monthly meeting on August 21 at the Thurgood Marshall Center (1816 12th Street). Leffler told the committee the meeting had to be scheduled sufficiently in advance to get the word out to the community, but before the next meeting of the ANC as a whole. This will take place Thursday, September 5,  7pm at the Reeves Center.

Some items in the draft standards are:

-- Establishment owners should always be notified seven days before their cases will be discussed.

-- The use of a template developed by ANC 2B/Dupont for "settlement agreements". Settlement agreements are reached between liquor licensees and ANCs and/or other parties. They often deal with operating hours, trash pickup, outdoor service, vermin control, and other issues.

-- Improving communication with licensees by making more information about the process available on the ANC1B website, including a list of questions that licensees will be expected to answer.

The committee discussed a draft document at length at the August 21 meeting.

One of the questions discussed was: How many neighbors have to be complaining about an establishment before the ANC will consider a protest? Leffler's draft proposed five, which mirrors DC government regulation on this matter. Leffler told the committee the standards should include a concrete number of complaining neighbors. Other members of the committee pushed back and urged a lower number or no number at all. In the end, the committee seemed to agree on "multiple neighbors" for this section, without further definition.

The meeting also discussed proposed standards for outdoor operations, i.e. street level patios, summer gardens, or roof decks. The document says:

"The Committee has been trying to meet the community halfway by working with new licensee applicants to dial back summer garden and street level patio hours to 11 p.m. Sunday - Thursday and midnight on Friday and Saturday. This should apply to those establishments on side streets, tucked into neighborhoods or turning the corner into residential streets."

Friday, August 23, 2013

Policy Restaurant Revises Public Space Application Due to Contractor Error

Raj Multhani of Policy Restaurant, 1904 14th Street NW, appeared before Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont on August 14, asking for assistance due to an error caused by a contractor.

The contractor installed a decorative fence on Policy's T Street side four feet west of the location specified in a previously-approved public space application. As a result, an extra 56 square feet must be added to the public space usage request. All of the area in question is on Policy's leased land.

The restaurant is not requesting additional seating, tables, or umbrellas.

ANC2B passed a motion that it does not object to the addition. Policy's request now must go to the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) for approval.

Policy last appeared before ANC2B in June. At that time, it wanted to void an agreement between Policy, the ANC, a community group, and a group of neighbors, concerning restaurant operating hours and other conditions. The reason: attempts to negotiate a change directly with the neighbors have failed, and the restricted operating hours in the agreement put Policy at a disadvantage compared to its neighbors. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Black Cat Liquor License Modification Moves Forward

The liquor licensing affairs committee of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B/U Street tentatively approved the request of the Black Cat (1811 18th Street NW) for a substantial change to its liquor license. The changes will include moving dressing rooms from the first to the third floors and building a 1500-foot enclosed bar on the third floor. The proposed bar will have a capacity of 149 people.

(Luis Gomez Photos, used by permission)
The decision occurred last night (August 21) at the committee's regular monthly meeting at the Thurgood Marshall Center (1816 12th Street).

The approval is contingent on the endorsement of ANC 1B Commissioner Zahra Jilani. She is the Commissioner for district 12, in which the Black Cat is located. She was unable to attend the meeting, but sent someone to represent her. The representative said Zilani had some noise abatement concerns.

Assuming Jilani endorses the committee's vote, the committee's approval will probably be the subject of discussion and vote at the next meeting of the full ANC on Thursday, September 5. The meeting will start at 7pm at the Reeves Center (14th and U Streets).

An ANC approval is strictly advisory. The final decision lies with DC's Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board.

Dante Ferrando, owner/operator of the Black Cat, told the committee that the club would soon celebrate its twentieth anniversary. There have been no major changes for twelve years.

"We need to make some improvements," he said. Ferrando said that the club will remain flexible on the shape of the final design, pending negotiation with various DC authorities and other parties.

Ferrando also said the club has a roof deck license, but he is not using the license now and is not intending to turn the third-floor space into a roof deck.

The approval was unanimous. One committee member abstained, pleading conflict of interest.

The Black Cat's hearing before the ABC Board on its liquor license modification request will take place at 10am on September 30, on the fourth floor of the Reeves Center. See a copy of the announcement here.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

14th & Wallach: +60 Apartments, 9 Parking Spaces, 5 Zoning Reliefs

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1B/U Street will soon act on multiple zoning relief requests for a new multi-story, mixed-use building to be situated on the northeast corner of Wallach Place and 14th Streets NW. ANC1B Design Review Committee heard an initial presentation by the developer at its regular monthly meeting, held on Monday, August 19, at the Thurgood Marshall Center, 1816 12th Street NW.


How the Building Will Look
Wallach Place and 14th Now
Developers Madison Investments and PGN Architects told the committee that there will be only nine parking spaces for more than 60 apartments. To go ahead with so little parking will require special permission, or "relief", from DC's Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA). Under current rules, a developer might be required to provide more than 25 parking spaces. However, there are plans to change DC's zoning rules to eliminate this requirement as part of a major rewrite.

Sia Madani of Madison Investments told the committee that tenants are less likely to want a car, and more likely to require bike parking.

Some discussion at the meeting centered on requiring that tenants agree not to apply for a residential parking permit, perhaps as a term of their lease. No request was made by ANC1B to require this, and the developer did not offer to do so.

This is the second major proposed development near 14th Street in the last few months to have very little parking planned and to discuss the possibility of requiring tenants to pledge not to apply for a residential parking permit. At a recent ANC2F meeting, there was some discussion about whether such a requirement would be enforceable or even legal.

Other zoning relief

The building will require five separate zoning reliefs. Among other issues that will require zoning relief are building setback, total space usage, and the location and design of the loading dock.

The building setback as currently designed meets setback requirements in most respects, the developers said, except for one upper floor.

The loading dock was a matter of long discussion at the meeting. It might face 14th Street and present an impediment to vehicular and bicycle traffic.

The building height will exceed 100 feet, but will not require zoning relief. It will have retail space on the ground and second floors. Above that, there will be more than 60 new apartments (down from an initial plan of 75 smaller apartments), averaging about 600-650 square feet each. Thirty percent of these will be efficiency apartments, 50 percent one-bedrooms, and 20 percent two-bedrooms.

The developers told the committee that they plan rental units, not condos, and they are planning to be the long-term owners of the building.

"We are not looking to flip," Sia Madani said.

Next Steps

The presenters pledged additional community consultation. They said they had already consulted homeowners on Wallach Place, who were concerned about what type of retail establishments might inhabit the first two floors. A Wallach Place resident said the residents favored, for example, a hardware store, rather than a restaurant or a bar, in the building.

The developers will make an official presentation at next month's meeting of ANC1B's Design Review Committee. The meeting is scheduled for September 23 at 6:30pm at the Thurgood Marshall Center. At that time, the committee will vote on whether to recommend that the full ANC support the multiple zoning relief requests.

The full ANC will then vote on the matter, probably at its following meeting, scheduled for October 3 at 7pm at the Reeves Center (U and 14th Streets).

Both meetings are open to the public.

ANC Commissioners present at the meeting were Design Review Committee Chair Tony Norman and Zahra Jilani. Norman is the Commissioner from district 09, and is also the chair of ANC1B as a whole. Jilani is the Commissioner for district 12, in which the planned building is located.

UrbanTurf has also written about this meeting.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

ANC2B Endorses Longer Hours for Chi Cha Lounge

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont voted to support a request by the Chi-Cha Lounge, a cocktail lounge and hookah bar at 1624 U Street NW, for extended holiday hours. The decision was made at the ANC's regular monthly meeting on August 14. It will allow the Chi-Cha Lounge to stay open later up to 14 days per year.

Farees Salim, owner/operator of the Chi-Cha Lounge, appeared before the ANC to plead his case.

Like many liquor serving establishments, Chi-Cha Lounge has a settlement agreement with the ANC which specifies, among other things, its hours of operation. A model settlement agreement is available here. Until 2013, settlement agreements were called "voluntary agreements".

Chi-Cha Lounge is one of the many establishments in the area whose settlement agreement explicitly stipulates its operating hours. On holidays or the eve of holidays, DC authorities often allow liquor serving establishments to stay open later. However, if a liquor licensee's settlement agreement stipulates specific hours, it must seek permission from the other party or parties in the agreement to stay open late. Permission can be difficult to obtain, and counter-parties can refuse permission. Other liquor licensees in the area have complained that more liberal agreements of newer competitors put older establishments at a disadvantage.

During the discussion about the request, Commissioner Kevin O'Connor said it might be worth revisiting some other settlement agreements on this matter. O'Connor is Commissioner for district 02 and chair of ANC 2B's liquor licensing affairs committee.

ANC 2B Chair Will Stephens asked if the ANC should reach out to liquor licensees.

O'Connor replied he meant the ANC should be aware if licensees come before the Commission.

All eight commissioners present at the meeting voted to support the request.

According to DC government records, Chi-Cha Lounge attempted to terminate a voluntary agreement with neighbors (.pdf here) in 2011. Records of a public protest hearing (large .pdf file here) before DC liquor licensing authorities on February 23, 2011, document a long struggle between a neighbor and Chi-Cha Lounge about noise.

Monday, August 19, 2013

ABC Board, “The Reef” Reach Tentative Safety Agreement After Stabbing

Brian Harrison, owner/operator of “The Reef”, a bar at 2446 18th Street in Adams Morgan, and DC government authorities have reached a tentative agreement to help the bar to change its ways. DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier closed the bar after an August 10 stabbing by a member of the bar's security staff. DC liquor control authorities have prolonged the closure on the basis of possible danger to the public.

On Friday, August 16, Harrison signed an “Offer of Compromise” with the DC Attorney General's office which should allow it to re-open soon. The Offer has not yet been accepted by the ABC Board.

18th Street, Adams Morgan (Wikipedia/Michiel1972)
At a hearing that day, Harrison and Fernando Rivero, Assistant Attorney General at the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, told DC's Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board they had reached a tentative agreement about a program of improvements to the club's security staff, apparatus, and procedures. They sought Board approval so the club can reopen.

The Stabbing

According to testimony at the hearing, the member of the bar's security staff who did the stabbing was on probation for armed robbery. He allegedly held the victim in a headlock while stabbing the victim repeatedly. Testimony at the hearing also indicated the stabber had been drinking on duty, in contravention of workplace rules. Robinson said he was unaware of the employee's background, and the employee had lost his job after the incident.

A report in the Washington Post and hearing testimony indicate that this is the second instance of assault at The Reef less than three months. In addition, the Post report says that The Reef has been fined for operating outside of licensing hours and received a warning letter about serving alcohol to a minor.

The Agreement

Robinson and Rivero outlined the details of the proposed agreement. The most important component was security staff training.

“We see this as a training issue,” Rivero said.

The Reef will hire an outside company to do security training. No one will be allowed to do security there until they can certify that they've completed training. In addition, security staff will have to take refresher courses twice a year. All training must be closely documented.

“The safety of the client has always been hugely important to us,” Harrison said.

Rivero said he outlined the qualities that an outside company should have to satisfy the Board, but could not require or even recommend specific companies because of ethical considerations.

Other parts of agreement include

-- The current director of security, a college student, will be demoted. She will continue to be part of The Reef's security staff.

-- Mandatory background checks for all current security staff and future hires. Applicants with violent criminal histories will not be eligible to work on the security staff.

-- Strict guidelines, in writing, about what security people may do while on duty on the premises.

-- A formal security plan, including a map and plan of security cameras, on file with the DC government.

-- The purchase of additional security cameras and improved coverage to include the club's staircase landings, where the latest violent incident took place. (Robinson told the Board that he had bought the cameras the previous day.)

-- A plan for storage of security tapes. Tapes will be made available to the police and ABRA within 48 hours after a request.

-- Use of devices to detect false IDs (already in use, according to Robinson).

SALM has not received permission to publish the original Offer of Compromise document. 

The Offer of Compromise document is available here.

Under DC law, The Reef faced a possible maximum punishment of permanent suspension of license, plus a fine of up to $10,000.

The Reef's next appearance before the ABC Board will be at 3pm on Thursday, August 22, at the Reeves Center (U and 14th Streets). It is possible that The Reef's permission to operate will be reinstated at that time.

The August 16 meeting took place in the ABC Board hearing room at the Reeves Center.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Thanks to All Who Encouraged Me During the First Week of SALM

I am overwhelmed with the positive response to Short Articles about Long Meetings in its first week of operation, especially by

Washington City Paper

Michael DeBonis at The Washington Post's District of Debonis

Matty Rhodes, Luis Gomez, and former colleagues at Borderstan

Commissioners of ANC2B

U Street Neighborhood Association

IMBYdc's Michael Hamilton

Sarah Anne Hughes of the DCist

Other writers of encouraging tweets

New followers on Twitter

Senders of encouraging emails

Commenters on the blog, especially those who corrected my errors of fact.

Thank you everybody.

Friday, August 16, 2013

ANC2B Supports New Liquor Licensee in 17th Street Moratorium Area

Duke's Grocery, a new coffee shop/market/pub/café to open at 1513 17th Street NW, got a pair of important approvals from Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont at its regular monthly meeting on August 14.

Duke's Grocery is located within the boundaries of the Dupont East (a.k.a. “17th Street”) Liquor License Moratorium district. The extension of the moratorium was the subject of a long separate debate at the same meeting.

1513 17th Street NW, future site of Duke's Grocery
First, ANC2B approved a stipulated license for the establishment by a vote of 8-0. A stipulated license is a temporary license for a liquor-serving establishment, good for as long as it takes for the DC government to reach a final decision.

The granting of a stipulated license is one of the few decisions an ANC can take which is binding, not advisory, in nature. It does not need approval from another government body.

Second, ANC2B voted to support the application for a permanent liquor license before DC's Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board. This marked a departure from frequent ANC practice of automatically protesting all new liquor license applications to maintain leverage with prospective entrepreneurs.

Abigail Nichols, Commissioner for district 05, made a motion to protest the application. She then seemed surprised when other Commissioners asked her to explain why the ANC should protest. Nichols said she had documents to support her case for a protest, but she had not brought them with her to prepare. She asked for an hour postponement to prepare, but no motion was made so the debate continued. Nichols said she was concerned that Duke's would have a sidewalk café. The aspiring proprietors and other commissioners pointed out a sidewalk café would require a separate license, and the ANC could discuss this problem when Duke's came back for ANC endorsement of a sidewalk café license. Then Nichols said she was concerned about the possibility the license might some day change hands. ANC2B Chair Will Stephens (district 08) said protesting a licensee for this reason was not looked on favorably by the DC authorities.

Several members of the community told the ANC they supported Duke's Grocery.

The motion to protest was voted down 1-7. Nichols was the only vote for, and Stephens abstained.

Then Nichols put forward a motion to endorse the liquor license application for Duke's Grocery. ANC2B voted in favor without dissent. Three Commissioners did not vote: Stephanie Maltz (district 03), Kishan Putta (04), and Mike Silverstein (06). Maltz and Putta had stepped outside at the moment of the vote. Silverstein does not participate in debates or votes about liquor licenses due to possible conflicts of interest.

Daniel Kramer and Alex McCoy are the future co-proprietors of Duke's Grocery and presented before the ANC prior to the discussion.

Further reporting on other activity at this meeting will follow.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

ANC2B Endorses Reduced 17th Street Liquor License Moratorium in 4-4 Tie Vote

An obscure quirk in local regulations may prolong the life the 17th Street liquor license moratorium.

The vote by Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont was a 4-4 tie on a resolution to recommend the continuation of a reduced version of the current moratorium. Under normal parliamentary procedure, such a tie would mean that a motion (in this case, a motion to continue a reduced version of the moratorium) would fail. However, the ANC2B city-wide bylaws for ANCs state that, in the case of a tie, the chair of commission will have, in effect, an extra vote to break a tie. In this case, ANC 2B chair Will Stephens (district 08) cast the deciding vote.

The vote on the resolution recommending continuation of the moratorium was:

For: Stephens, Abigail Nichols (05), Kishan Putta (04), and Kevin O'Connor (02).

Against: Leo Dwyer (07), Mike Feldstein (01), Stephanie Maltz (03), and Noah Smith (09).

Not voting was Commissioner Mike Silverstein (06). Silverstein works for is a member of the ABC Board and recuses himself from all votes on liquor licensing matters. In this case, Silverstein was attending an ABC Board meeting and was not at the ANC meeting.

The resolution now goes to DC's Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) Board, which will make the final decision on the moratorium.

The resolution as passed has two significant points that mark the continued slow decline of the power and use of liquor license moratoriums. First, the resolution recommends that the liquor license moratorium be lifted completely for restaurants, legally defined as establishments that make more than half their revenues from food. Second, the moratorium will run for three years, instead of the possible maximum of five. See a draft of the resolution (.pdf) here.

Debate over the moratorium was long and took up most of the meeting. Before the debate on the resolution described above, Abigail Nichols put up a rival resolution requesting a 90-day emergency extension of the moratorium while the ANC looked into the matter further. The motion went down to defeat by a vote of 7-1, with Nichols as the only vote in favor. Similarly, a separate motion by Nichols to make the moratorium that passed five years, instead of three, died when there was no second.

The ANC meeting was held last night (August 14) at the Brookings Institution, 1775 Massachusetts Avenue NW.

Some background on this story is available here.

Further reporting on activity from this meeting will follow.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Q Street Metro Exit: New Landscaping Soon, Canopy Years Away

How it looks now
Nearly every aspect of Dupont Circle's heavily-used Q Street Metro exit is getting a major overhaul sooner or later. That's what Metro officials told Dupont residents at a meeting held this evening, August 13, at Johns Hopkins' School for Advanced International Studies on Massachusetts Avenue NW.

The meeting was organized by Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont.

Chisholm and McBride address the meeting
Ann Chisholm, DC Government Relations Officer for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), told the meeting that whole plaza area around the Q Street would be rehabbed over a period of 60 days, at the same time as the center escalator was being repaired. The first step would be the weeding of the cobblestone area around the escalators, which will start this weekend (17-18 August). Other landscaping will begin in two weeks' time, including the repair and replacement of cobblestones. Some of the sidewalk area is also being replaced, because it was sinking.

The escalator renovation will be finished by the end of October.

Answering a later audience question, co-presenter Michael McBride, WMATA Program Manager, Public Art and Environment Graphic Design, told residents that Metro is exploring ways to shelter the escalator from the elements. This improvement will mean that the escalators can go longer between major repairs. However, installation of a canopy over the exit is still a long way in the future.

The canopy must be clear and modular, and will probably be circular, McBride said.

Talking about the final design and installation of the canopy, McBride said, “It will be an open process. You [the public] will have a chance to weigh in.”

Q Street's recent appearances in the news were also discussed. These included the January drunken fall which severely injured a man, and the June legal difficulties experienced by a man who planted unauthorized flowers alongside the top stretch of the Q Street escalators. McBride noted that the among the types of flowers planted by the well-meaning volunteer were daffodils and other types of flora which rats find especially delicious. This is why they had to be removed.

Chisholm agreed with an audience member who said that WMATA handled the matter badly. “It's a new day,” she said. “We're starting fresh.”